Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Big Short

From outsiders in the world of high-finance who predicted the credit bubble collapse of the mid-2000s decide to take on the big banks for their lack of foresight and greed.

Adam McKay to me was the least likely candidate in Hollywood director to make a brainy movie such as The Big Short; as the only film I've ever seen from him is Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Still this film is based on Michael Lewis' 2010 non-fiction Best-Seller. Of all the current century's most cataclysmic world-historical events: the 2007-2008 financial crisis is probably among the most poorly understood. The road taken by this film is by far the most radical approach of the story. Above all, the cast is on point, to be sure, with everyone seeming to take enthusiastic pleasure in disappearing into the roles of societal misfits of one kind or another. In fact the script focuses on the handful of men in the field - most of whom are at least half-insane. However none of them are really easy to root for. Ryan Gosling's character uses smart-ass charm, leading viewers through the ins and outs of this game. Christian Bale as a socially awkward, speed metal-loving-doctor-turned-money manager who was the first to notice that the market was built on a house of cards. Only Steve Carell's character comes out as genuine and empathetic. 

This film reminded me a lot of The Wolf of Wall Street in its hyper-caffeinated energy. Plus director hyper real approach might be exactly what the story needed, given how far removed from the reality-based community so many of the highest paid financial gurus were at that time. I supposed you could call The Big Short a comedy as it is very, very funny. But it is also a tragedy as McKay couldn't be more serious about his film's message: which is that anyone who ever bought into the version of the American Dream, that included their own home, has been fooled by the banks, the regulators and the government; who all seemed to interpret capitalism as a license to rob people blindly. 

Overall McKay deserves a lot of credit for making this movie and he also deserves to be taken seriously now as a filmmaker.

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